Bernie Ecclestone has apologised for his controversial comments about Russian President Vladimir and the war in .

The former F1 boss sparked outrage by describing Putin as a ‘first class person’ and that he would take a bullet for the Russian president during an interview on last week and was set to miss the Austrian Grand Prix tomorrow as a result of the backlash.

But speaking to Sky Sports News today, the billionaire apologised and clarified his views on the war, insisting he did not mean ‘to upset anybody’.

It is unclear if the clip was part of a longer interview and it did not address the controversy surrounding Nelson Piquet.

Ecclestone had initially appeared on GMB to discuss the racism storm around Piquet after he branded Lewis Hamilton the N-word in a resurfaced video but Ecclestone went on to defend the 69-year-old in the same GMB interview which was apparently not addressed when he spoke to Sky Sports today.

He said: ‘It would probably be good for me to get some things off my chest as well, things that have been bothering me about what I said and what people think I said.

‘I think often people come out and say things or do things without really too much thinking.

‘Probably I did the same.I can understand people thinking I’m defending what he’s done in Ukraine, which I don’t.

‘I was brought up during the war, the last war, so I know what it’s like.

‘So I feel sorry for the people in Ukraine having to suffer for something they haven’t done.They’ve done nothing wrong. They didn’t start anything. They want to get on with their lives.

Responding to Ecclestone’s apology, people on social media noted how he had not said sorry to Lewis Hamilton. 

One wrote: ‘Why is he still being interviewed..he’s not sorry about anything’. 

Another said: sportsbook software ‘Too late for apologies, Bernie. You should never have said it in the first place’.  

Bernie Ecclestone has apologised for his controversial comments about Russian President Vladimir Putin and the war in Ukraine. Pictured: Bernie Ecclestone speaking this morning

Bernie Ecclestone has apologised for his controversial comments about Russian President Vladimir Putin and the war in Ukraine.Pictured: Bernie Ecclestone speaking this morning

Pictured: Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and F1 Supremo Bernie Ecclestone (R) attend the Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix competition October 11, 2015 in Sochi, Russia

Pictured: Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and F1 Supremo Bernie Ecclestone (R) attend the Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix competition October 11, 2015 in Sochi, Russia

‘They want the kids to go to school and try and go to work and earn a living to keep the family going.

‘So they don’t deserve to have to suffer.It’s not good for anybody. I can’t see anybody getting anything out of this and I think they should get together and get an agreement.

‘And I’m sorry if anything I’ve said has upset anybody because it certainly wasn’t intended.’

His apology comes after a bizarre interview with Good Morning Britain last week. 

Ecclestone sparked outrage when he took a shot at Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, saying he was a comedian before the Ukraine war and appeared to ‘want to continue being one.’ 

He then insisted the invasion ‘could have ended differently’ if Zelensky had ‘talked with Putin’. 

When pressed by journalist Kate Garraway, who asked if he believed a change in Zelensky’s actions, rather than Putin’s, could have avoided war, Ecclestone replied: ‘Absolutely.’

He added: ‘What he’s doing is something he believed was the right thing for Russia. 

Responding to Ecclestone's apology, people on social media noted how he had not said sorry to Lewis Hamilton

Responding to Ecclestone’s apology, people on social media noted how he had not said sorry to Lewis Hamilton

The ex-F1 boss (pictured with Putin in 2014) previously said he thought the Russian President should be running Europe and the invasion of Crimea was just to 'bring Russia back together'

The ex-F1 boss (pictured with Putin in 2014) previously said he thought the Russian President should be running Europe and the invasion of Crimea was just to ‘bring Russia back together’

‘Unfortunately, like a lot of business people, certainly like me, we make mistakes from time to time, and when you’ve made the mistake you have to do the best you can to get out of it.’

He added: ‘I think if it had been conducted properly – I mean the other person in Ukraine…I understand he used to be a comedian, and I think he seems to want to continue that profession… I think if he had thought about things he would have definitely made a big enough effort to speak to Mr Putin, who is a sensible person and would have listened to him and probably done something about it.’  

Presenter Ben Shephard quizzed Ecclestone about the thousands of innocent lives killed in Ukraine, asking him: ‘You can’t justify that, surely?’ 

Ecclestone responded: ‘I don’t.It wasn’t intentional – look at all times America has moved into different countries which is nothing to do with America.’ 

He added: ‘And I’m quite sure Ukraine, if they’d wanted to get out of it properly, could have done.’

Mr Eccelstone is a known admirer of the Russian President, and the duo have been seen at sporting events together. (Pictured at F1 event in Sochi, Russia, in 2018)

Mr Eccelstone is a known admirer of the Russian President, and the duo have been seen at sporting events together.(Pictured at F1 event in Sochi, Russia, in 2018)

Pictured: Bernie Ecclestone and Tamara Ecclestone attend a Formula 1 charity photographic auction on February 07, 2014

Pictured: Bernie Ecclestone and Tamara Ecclestone attend a Formula 1 charity photographic auction on February 07, 2014

Pictured: Model Tamara Ecclestone with Bernie Ecclestone who was F1 chief at the time at the F1 World Championship 2013

Pictured: Model Tamara Ecclestone with Bernie Ecclestone who was F1 chief at the time at the F1 World Championship 2013

Asked if he has had a chance to speak to Putin about ‘what a mess’ the situation is or urged him to rethink what he is doing, Ecclestone said: ‘No.He’s probably thought about that himself. He probably doesn’t need reminding.

‘I’m absolutely sure he now wishes he hadn’t started this whole business, but didn’t start as a war.’

His former colleagues were quick to distance themselves from his remarks, with F1 releasing a statement to say they were ‘in very stark contrast to the position of the modern values of our sport.’

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